Apple has launched “Spoken Editions” a series of podcast narrations that transform online news and media articles into audio.

First surfacing in September, before disappearing again, Spoken Editions has finally rolled out and can be accessed either via the official iOS Podcasts app, or via iTunes on a computer.

The standalone segment of these services introduces itself as:

“Too busy to read your favorite websites? Just listen! These audio versions give you tons of great narrated stories.They’re perfect for getting the latest scoop when you’re driving, working out, or just feel like kicking back.”

There are a number of websites already present on Spoken Editions, and the SpokenLayer, the service that powers the platform has said they plan to release hundreds of episodes a week.

Currently categories encompass the likes of ‘Briefings’, which includes websites like Wired, TechCrunch and Time; ‘Policy in Perspective,’ incorporating HuffPost Politics, Reuters Politics, Slate Politics and more; ‘Money Talks’, including Money.Mic, Reuters and Wired Business; and ‘Science and Tech’, including Wired Science, Mashable Tech, Late Technology and TechCrunch Startups.

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Other categories include Inclusion & Identity, Millennial Mindset, Pop Culture, Games! Gadgets! Gizmos! and Lifestyle & Leisure.

At launch, each Spoken Edition has around five episodes, ranging from around 2-6 minutes each. Each episode starts with a quick intro noting which website the Spoken Edition is from, before a voiceover artist reads out a news article. Simple, effective.

All episodes in Spoken Editions are free, but some are ad-supported. Furthermore, they can also be accessed in the same way regular podcasts can, meaning they’re also found in third-party Podcast apps like Overcast, Castro, or Pocket Casts.

While the service in itself is a fairly innovative launch considering Apple’s paid the Podcast, a concept it had a significant hand in inventing, little mind in recent years, what it means for the future is far more interesting. As reported recently, Apple is in the prototype-testing stage of a brand new Siri-based speaker. Spoken Editions will be a huge part of the speaker’s appeal when it eventually launches.

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